meticulous

adjective
me·​tic·​u·​lous | \ mə-ˈti-kyə-ləs How to pronounce meticulous (audio) \

Definition of meticulous

: marked by extreme or excessive care in the consideration or treatment of details a meticulous researcher

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Other Words from meticulous

meticulosity \ mə-​ˌti-​kyə-​ˈlä-​sə-​tē How to pronounce meticulosity (audio) \ noun
meticulously \ mə-​ˈti-​kyə-​ləs-​lē How to pronounce meticulously (audio) \ adverb
meticulousness \ mə-​ˈti-​kyə-​ləs-​nəs How to pronounce meticulousness (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for meticulous

Synonyms

careful, conscientious, fussy, loving, painstaking, scrupulous

Antonyms

careless

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Choose the Right Synonym for meticulous

careful, meticulous, scrupulous, punctilious mean showing close attention to detail. careful implies attentiveness and cautiousness in avoiding mistakes. a careful worker meticulous may imply either commendable extreme carefulness or a hampering finicky caution over small points. meticulous scholarship scrupulous applies to what is proper or fitting or ethical. scrupulous honesty punctilious implies minute, even excessive attention to fine points. punctilious observance of ritual

Meticulous Has Fearful Roots

It may surprise you to learn that meticulous is derived from the Latin word for "fearful" - meticulosus - and ultimately comes from the Latin noun metus, meaning "fear." Although meticulous currently has no "fearful" meanings, it was originally used as a synonym of frightened and timid. This sense had fallen into disuse by 1700, and in the 19th century meticulous acquired a new sense of "overly and timidly careful" (probably influenced by the French word méticuleux). This in turn led to the current meaning of "painstakingly careful," with no connotations of fear at all. The newest use was controversial among some usage commentators at first, but it has since become by far the most common meaning and is no longer considered an error.

Examples of meticulous in a Sentence

Always meticulous about his appearance in the past, he had become dirty and unkempt, with straggly hair, stained clothes, and patches of silver stubble on his chin. — Minette Walters, Fox Evil, 2002 She was very much the craftswoman, all her work meticulous, slow, perfect. — Simon Winchester, The Professor and the Madman, 1998 In dense, meticulous arguments … Brooten mounts an assault on that view. — Cullen Murphy, Atlantic, August 1993 He described the scene in meticulous detail. He is meticulous about keeping accurate records.
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Recent Examples on the Web

This Collins exchange is an interesting clash of the fast-talkin' politician & the meticulous (to the point of obscurity) lawyer. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "Robert Mueller keeps asking lawmakers to 'repeat the question' — and Twitter took notice," 24 July 2019 Lippman, ever meticulous, even consulted a baseball historian when capturing the point of view of a certain beloved 1960s Baltimore Orioles outfielder. Dallas News, "Laura Lippman's new novel is a love letter to Baltimore and its people," 23 July 2019 Wang displays a masterful control over the unique mood and tone of the film, which is at once hilarious and heartbreaking, meticulous in its meditation. Katie Walsh, Twin Cities, "‘The Farewell’ dives into big family traditions, truths and a ‘good lie’," 18 July 2019 Not that the team wasn’t meticulous about creating Green Arrow’s cowl. Chancellor Agard, EW.com, "How Arrow saved the TV superhero — and why it had to end," 17 July 2019 The first North American invited to study in residence at the Finca Vigia Museum and Research Center, Feldman spent two years in Havana doing the meticulous research that resulted in a staggering 124 pages of footnotes. David Shribman, latimes.com, "‘Ernesto’ traces Hemingway’s Cuba years, exploring where Papa lived, fished and drank," 13 June 2019 And after more than two decades of meticulous research about Leonardo’s life and work, the Met’s Bambach is publishing a four-volume opus, Leonardo da Vinci Rediscovered. Claudia Kalb, National Geographic, "Why Leonardo da Vinci’s brilliance endures, 500 years after his death," 12 June 2019 The result of a decade of wide-ranging, ground-breaking, and meticulous research, the show originated at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and has been rejiggered for New York to include three additional artists. Esther Allen, The New York Review of Books, "Returning the Gaze, with a Vengeance," 8 July 2018 Through meticulous research and riveting storytelling, Tyler Mahan Coe proves fact is just as juicy as fiction in his podcast (season two on the way!) linking country music’s present, from its gender biases to its politics, to its past. David Brooks, Billboard, "Next-Gen Nashville: 16 People, Places and Things Shaking Up Music City," 29 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'meticulous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of meticulous

1827, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for meticulous

earlier, "fearful," borrowed from Latin metīculōsus, metūculōsus "timid, apprehensive," from metū-, stem of metus "fear, dread" (of uncertain origin) + -culōsus (in perīculōsus "involving danger, perilous")

Note: The senses "overscrupulous," then "careful, scrupulous" may depend on French méticuleux, for which these meanings are attested somewhat earlier than in English.

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Dictionary Entries near meticulous

methysergide

metic

metical

meticulous

métier

metif

métis

Statistics for meticulous

Last Updated

7 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for meticulous

The first known use of meticulous was in 1827

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More Definitions for meticulous

meticulous

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of meticulous

: very careful about doing something in an extremely accurate and exact way

meticulous

adjective
me·​tic·​u·​lous | \ mə-ˈtik-yə-ləs How to pronounce meticulous (audio) \

Kids Definition of meticulous

: showing extreme or excessive care in thinking about or dealing with small details a meticulous description

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